Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Monday, November 29, 2010


As many of you wonder if the exterior is more important than the interior of a condo, I can say that good architecture happens when both are considered in the early stages of design. While it may not be obvious how to layout the furniture in a curved space, I personally believe that this type of space has so much more to offer.

Think of the views which in some cases are 180 degrees as well as the natural light coming through. Think of the prestige and the exquisite architecture as a unique feature that will surpass many other features your condo comes with.

I can understand why some potential condo buyers may wonder how to furnish a curved space with all the in and out corners, niches, structural and mechanical elements and the sharp corners! and this is because we have been used to live in rectangular spaces with rectangular furniture (more or less). However, if you keep in mind the size of a bed, night tables and the required space around you will see that bedrooms have actually the required space for a proper furniture layout. There are many rectangular condo spaces which lack in the required square footage and are not attractive by architectural style either.

Let’s take one (perhaps) challenging curved condo space- anyone looking at the unfurnished floor plan may look at all the interior elements as challenging, however there are few things to keep in mind:

- as long as the curved space doesn’t take away from the square footage required for a decent seating area or bedroom set, you should see the curved space as an added interior design feature.

- having a continuous curved exterior glazing wall for the entire condo plan is the No. 1 interior feature anyone should be attracted by! so many options for window treatments to make your space have a cohesive style.

- structural and mechanical elements can be always switched from “challenging to work around” to “vertical elements which can be featured by design”. Here’s what I mean by that:

Let’s look at the mechanical unit in the living room and 2nd bedroom- the space between the unit and the exterior glazing is actually great for hiding the drapes when open and why not consider using motorized window coverings? As long as the space is wide enough to allow for proper installation of the hardware you can look at it as a feature.

Another question someone may pose is related to the living area furniture layout. The structural wall behind the sofa is slightly shorter than a 7’ sofa, however you can always make up for that space by adding a bar unit which will be very handy for the adjacent dining area, or you can add a plant or a large vase with tall bamboo sticks.

As new curved condo spaces emerge in so many cities, furniture manufacturers are moving along and strive to bring new products to these markets. In lieu of the typical furniture shown in the furniture layout from above, think of adding more interest by working with furniture with round shapes. There is nothing better than a marriage between the exterior architectural shape and the interior elements. Consider modular curved sofas which allow you to play with the modules to suit the desired layout.

You can use these slightly curved loveseats together or separate or these coffee tables which seem to work perfectly with a asymmetric curved space and why not even consider the more retro take on some tv units and bedroom sets.

I believe the interior and exterior architecture of the space should work seamlessly with your furniture style and layout. While a traditional style for a cutting edge curved architectural space would be a bit more challenging, I would not exclude an eclectic style design where furniture elements or artwork and accessories or custom design features could help you actually work even better with a curved space than a rectangular one.

No interior space should be challenging to work with when you absolutely love the architecture of the building :)

Would love to see your comments- do you prefer interesting curvy spaces or safe rectangular layouts?


  1. Great article Carmen - and glad you enjoyed my initial post on the BuzzBuzz Forum.

    I feel as though if I have a bigger suite (Penthouse etc.) I would LOVE to have a nice big curvy window that oversees the entire city/lake or whatever it is. However, for suites 500-800 square feet I just feel as there is too much wasted space. As a TV/Movie buff, one of the first questions I ask myself when looking at a floorplan is "where does the TV go" - for me, there is no place in (most) of those layouts to put a TV where I would be happy with it.

    I see where you have put it on the floorplan and, yeah, that doesn't really work for me (We haven't even begun to factor in accurate TV-size-to-seating-distance-ratio :) )

    Overall my theory - If it's large enough to warrant the large curvy windows, then great. But for most small suites I find there to be too much wasted space.

  2. Hi Roy,

    Yes, I hear you! small units-small living rooms-big tvs-tv size/distance ratio= VERY challenging! that's when you have to decide what's more important for you...I think someone who needs a large TV should consider the seating area first and the overall size of the open space, the shape of the space is secondary, unless you can compromise.

    Looks like condo units and ipod/laptops get smaller, but tvs get bigger! :)

  3. ^ and where do my 7 speakers go in this layout? ::sob::

    I love to see great curvy, unique buildings. They look amazing - but I'm not sure that I am alone when I say if I'm buying for myself, I would be buying "safer" layouts. I look at DNA3 who have some of the BEST condo layouts I have ever seen. Their 630 sq.ft. 1+1 layout has SO MUCH usable space that it feels much bigger - not a single wasted square foot. DNA3 (from what I'm told) was designed "inside-out" with more focus on the floorplans than on the exterior. That's not to say that the exterior is bad, not by any means but it is far more conventional.

    If I were buying a condo, I would put much more preference on interior layout rather than exterior awesomeness. However, as a unique skyline enthusiast, I would love to see unique buildings everywhere - I'm so torn!

    I'm seeing more and more buildings pop up that I just don't see the floorplans working - and as an interior designer I'm sure you could do wonders with the place - but for the average Joe Bloggs like myself - "TV goes there, sofa goes here, cereal goes in there" it's very difficult to picture the layout in these curvy spaces.

    What I would love to see - if anyone knows of anyone who lives in these "Curvy" buildings is examples of "Curvy layouts done well" and "Curvy layouts done bad".... anyone got any pics??

  4. I can only agree with you :)good architecture happens when it starts with the person occupying the space ...that is from 'inside out' no doubt. And furnished floor plans always help marketing a project so people can decide based on all cons & pros.

  5. Hello,

    This is the marvelous post that I have come over after huge searches. I am really thankful to you for providing out parts information.

  6. Hi Carmen

    I just purchased a "curvy condo" and have been searching for tips on how to decorate. This is the first article I've seen addressing the issue! Thanks!

  7. you're very welcome Monica! if you have specific questions email me and I'll help you with few guidelines...


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